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Cattle Farm Backup?

by cattlefarmer on July 27, 2009

If you’ve read my other current question you’d know I want horned cattle I haven’t posted it yet but I’m going to raise Corriente Cattle, I have 500 Acres of Land 375 is currently in use for 18 Corriente Bulls and 129 Cows the reason I have so many bulls is to quickly reproduce so I can stat farming cattle heads. It never occurred to me until now should I use the other 125 acres for sheep farming in wool,also chicken farming, just in case cattle prices aren’t very good I could sell the wool and meat from the chickens and sheep, also if I was to also farm wool I was told Alpacas make better wool and its on a higher demand is this true? Please don’t say im inexperienced farmer the only reason im asking is because ive never farmed anything other than Corriente and British White Cattle. I’m not planning on making this my prime source of income just an at-hand backup, other Ranchers please tell me am i going in the right direction by making a backup plan just in case?
Actually I only have 100 acres since I use 25 acres for British White Cattle.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

bikinkawboy July 30, 2009 at 6:21 pm

First off, using sheep (or goats) and cattle together is a wise idea. Historically, sheep prices are high when cattle are low and vice versa in 10 year cycles. Only in this last, over extended cycle has that not been true.

The sheep or goats will eat plants and weeds the cattle won’t eat and thereby produce offspring on “free” grazing. Keep in mind that sheep are affected by intestional parasites and goats even more so. Hair sheep breeds are more parasite resistant than wool breeds and tend to have appetites more like goats. In other words, they’ll eat briars, tree bark, etc whereas wool breeds prefer legumes and even grass and are going to compete more with the cattle for forage.

Wool? It’s an expensive product to produce when you figure in how much forage it takes to produce it, the expense of shearing, packing and selling it and the associated problems that go along with wool. Fly strike (flies lay eggs in manure stuck in the wool and the maggots begin consuming the animal), tail docking is necessary, some breeds with lots of wool around the udder require crutching (trimming the wool away from the udder) or else the lamb can’t find the teat or sucks on wool instead of the teat. There’s no money in sheep wool unless you have a specialty breed with colored wool, fine fibered, etc and you can find somewhere to market it at.

Alpacas are a fad species just like the llamas, ostriches, emus, reahs, etc were. They are very expensive, require a very cool climate to breed or here in the Midwest, people must keep them in air conditioned buildings so they will cycle and breed. If you happen to be a hand spinner, one might be fine but as far as producing alpaca wool commercially, forget it. If you pay close attention, right now it’s a breeders market. That means the people with alpacas are selling them to other ignorant (of alpacas) smucks for big bucks as breeding stock. Once the breeding stock market is saturated, the price will fall like a rock, just like on the other species I mentioned earlier.

Raising sheep is a whole different practice compared to cattle. When done right, it can be very profitable but when done wrong, you can lose your shirt. Check out for some good articles on parasites and other management practices.

montecristobynight August 1, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Have you ever considered renting out your corriente cattle for either rodeo, tv commercial production, or other non traditional uses of cattle? Corriente cattle are very much preferred by tv producers because of their distinctive western look. I don’t know of your geographic location in the U.S. but I presume you are somewhere in the south west US. This could be an option for supplemental income.

will September 23, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Sheep and goats will totally destroy your small acreage. Sheep and goats will eat your grass down to the root, leaving your place destroyed. Buy some young feeder steers…a good breed Brangus, Herford, etc. Sell them at twice their original weight.

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